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mass-hysteria

eSkeptic for 14-05-28

In parts of Asia and the Orient entire regions are occasionally overwhelmed by terror-stricken men who believe that their penises are shriveling up or retracting into their bodies. Episodes can endure for weeks or months and affect thousands. Psychiatrists are divided as to the cause of these imaginary scares. Some believe that it is a form of group psychosis triggered by stress, while others view it as mass hysteria. How can groups of people come to believe that their sex organs are shrinking? In this week’s eSkeptic, Robert E. Bartholomew discusses the anatomy of mass hysteria, their similarities, and the factors involved in triggering them. This article appeared in Skeptic magazine issue 7.4 (1999).

eSkeptic for 10-09-15

What really rappened in Mattoon, Illinois in September, 1944? In this week’s eSkeptic, we present an article culled from a 1994 issue of Skeptic magazine (volume 3, number 1) which marked the 50th Anniversary of the Mattoon Phantom Gassing. In one of the most poignant examples of social influence and mass hysteria in history, the story of the Phantom gasser of Mattoon Illinois reveals what happens when people come to believe something for which there is no proof.

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